As I mentioned in my article "The Phony ‘Bush Lied’ Storyline," the MSM and the Dems should have remembered that since the 1998 Iraqi Freedom Act, enacted by Congress and signed by President Clinton, it was the law of the United Stated of America to seek regime change in Iraq. Instead the angry left claims that George W. Bush lied to the American People.
Following is a Memory List for those afflicted with Political Alzheimer’s:
A quick search through the Times archives before 2001 produces such headlines as:
Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say (November 1998)
U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan (August 1998)
Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort (February 2000)
Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration (February 2000)
Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program (July 2000)
As for The Post’s archives:
Iraqi Work Toward A-Bomb Reported (September 1998)
"Of all the booby traps left behind by the Clinton administration, none is more dangerous — or more urgent — than the situation in Iraq. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade’s efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Persian Gulf," including "intelligence photos that show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons." (January 29th, 2001, Editorial)
Many such stories appeared before and after the Clinton administration bombed Iraq for four days in late 1998.
The Times, citing its sources as Clinton "administration officials," "U.N. weapons inspectors" and "international analysts," reported that Hussein had sacrificed over $120 billion in oil revenue and "devoted his intelligence service to an endless game of cat and mouse to hide his suspected weapons caches from United Nations inspections."
When Hans Blix was appointed to head the U.N. inspectors, the editors criticized him for "a decade-long failure to detect Iraq’s secret nuclear weapons program before the gulf war" and for a "tendency to credit official assurances from rulers like Mr. Hussein." His selection was "a disturbing sign that the international community lacks the determination to rebuild an effective arms inspection system."
Philip Shenon reported official concerns that Iraq would be "capable within months — and possibly just weeks or days — of threatening its neighbors with an arsenal of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons." He reported that Iraq was thought to be "still hiding tons of nerve gas" and was "seeking to obtain uranium from a rogue nation or terrorist groups to complete as many as four nuclear warheads."
Tim Weiner and Steven Erlanger reported that Hussein was closer than ever "to what he wants most: keeping a secret cache of biological and chemical weapons," "to maintain his chemical and biological weapons — and the ability to build more." In 1999 Weiner reported that "Iraq’s chances of rebuilding a secret arsenal look good." Hussein was "scouring the world for tools to build new weapons." He might "be as close to building a nuclear weapon — perhaps closer — than he was in 1991."
In 2000 Myers reported that Iraq had rebuilt 12 "missile factories or industrial sites" thought to be "involved in Iraq’s efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction" and had "continued its pursuit of biological and chemical weapons."The "further the world gets from the gulf war, the more it seems willing to let Mr. Hussein revive his deadly weapons projects." Even "[m]any Americans question the need to maintain pressure on Baghdad and would oppose the use of force. But the threat is too great to give ground to Mr. Hussein. The cost to the world and to the United States of dealing with a belligerent Iraq armed with biological weapons would be far greater than the cost of preventing Baghdad from rearming."
So what was the consensus before Bush took office on the MSM side? What about our clear-headed political leaders?
Madeleine Albright, February 1998:
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy “pants” Berger, February 1998:
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983."
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, October 2003:
"When President Clinton was here recently he told me was absolutely convinced, given his years in the White House and the access to privileged information which he had, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction until the end of the Saddam regime."
Jacques Chirac, February 2003:
"There is a problem — the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq. The international community is right . . . in having decided Iraq should be disarmed."
Bill Clinton, December 1998:
"Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them, not once, but repeatedly — unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war, not only against soldiers, but against civilians; firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. Not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq. . . . I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again. . . . "
Bill Clinton, July 2003:
" . . . [I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in ’98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn’t know it because we never got to go back there."
Gen. Wesley Clark, September 2002, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee:
"There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat. . . . Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. . . . He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks, as would we." Also in September 2002: "There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies."
Howard Dean, February 2003:
"I agree with President Bush — he has said that Saddam Hussein is evil. And he is. [Hussein] is a vicious dictator and a documented deceiver. He has invaded his neighbors, used chemical arms, and failed to account for all the chemical and biological weapons he had before the Gulf War. He has murdered dissidents and refused to comply with his obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions. And he has tried to build a nuclear bomb. Anyone who believes in the importance of limiting the spread of weapons of mass killing, the value of democracy and the centrality of human rights must agree that Saddam Hussein is a menace. The world would be a better place if he were in a different place other than the seat of power in Baghdad or any other country."
Howard Dean, March 2003:
"[Iraq] is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons."
Robert Einhorn, Clinton assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, March 2002:
"How close is the peril of Iraqi WMD? Today, or at most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, inaccurate and limited in size). Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously — and to threaten U.S. territory with such weapons delivered by nonconventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner."
Senator. Bob Graham, in a letter to President Bush, December 2001:
"There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. . . . In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Nancy Pelosi, December 1998:
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Senator. John Rockefeller, October 2002:
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years."
On October 21, 1998, Bill Clinton signed the Iraqi Freedom Act:
"Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region.The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life. My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.We look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of the Iraqi people. The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government."
Bill Clinton, October 31st 1998:
"There are, of course, other important elements of U.S. policy. These include the maintenance of U.N. Security Council support efforts to eliminate Iraq’s prohibited weapons and missile programs and economic sanctions that continue to deny the regime the means to reconstitute those threats to international peace and security. United States support for the Iraqi opposition will be carried out consistent with those policy objectives as well."
Bill Clinton, February 20th 1998:
"Nobody wants to use force. But if Saddam refuses to keep his commitments to the international community, we must be prepared to deal directly with the threat these weapons pose to the Iraqi people, to Iraq’s neighbors, and to the rest of the world. Either Saddam acts—or we will have to."
"Saddam himself understands that the international community places a higher value in the lives of the Iraqi people than he does. That is why he uses innocent women and children as human shields, risking what we care about – Human lives – to protect what he cares about – his weapons. If force proves necessary to resolve the crisis we will do everything we can to prevent innocent people from getting hurt, but make no mistake: Saddam Hussein must bear full responsibility for every casualty that results."
Senator Barbara Boxer, December 1998:
"The president had no choice but to act today," she said in a statement issued by her office. "Anyone who questions the timing of his decision ignores the fact that we committed a month ago to act if [chief U.N. weapons inspector] Richard Butler reported that Saddam was not cooperating." "These critics are blinded by political considerations."
Bill Clinton, February 4th 1998:
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction. That is our bottom line."
Bill Clinton, February 17 1998:
"We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program."
Bill Clinton, December 16th 1998:
"Earlier today I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces."
"Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors."
"If Saddam can cripple the weapons inspections system and get away with it, he would conclude the international community, led by the United States, has simply lost its will. He would surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction."
"Hussein is a threat to his people and to the security of the world."
Hillary Clinton, October 10th 2002:
"It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein – this is your last chance – disarm or be disarmed. Every nation has to either be with us, or against us. Those who harbor terrorists, or who finance them, are going to pay a price."
"Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
"Saddam’s goal is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed."
"Iraq is a long way from the U.S., but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement."
Senator Robert Byrd:
"As I see it, Iraq is only one facet – albeit the bloodiest one – of a constellation of dangerous challenges facing the United States today."
"The unanimous vote by the Security Council… offers Iraq a chance to disarm in peace. That was the meaning of France’s initiative since the start."
"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people."
"While the distance between the United States and Iraq is great, Saddam Hussein’s ability to use his chemical and biological weapons against us is not constrained by geography – it can be accomplished in a number of different ways – which is what makes this threat so real and persuasive."
Senator Joe Lieberman:
"From the beginning, I was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq against Saddam Hussein. He was a dictator, warmonger, terrorist, outlaw, murderer, torturer, thief, and thug."
Madeleine Albright, November 10th 1999:
"[Saddam Hussein] has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Senator Carl Levin, September 19th 2002:
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
September 23rd 2002:
"We know that [Saddam Hussein] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country…. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Senator Ted Kennedy, September 27th 2002:
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Senator Robert Byrd, October 3rd 2002:
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…."
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 10th 2002:
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members…. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Arnaud Enée was ThePanelist.com’s most vociferous conservative commenter until we invited him to write his own column entitled "The Other Side."